2020 Domaine Capitain-Gagnerot, Hautes-Côtes de Beaune Blanc, Les Gueulottes, White Burgundy, France.
Just to the north of Corton hill, the Les Gueulottes parcel in the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune zone is prime Chardonnay country and Capitain-Gagnerot has made a beautifully mineral driven chalky white Burgundy that is full vintage expressive, but with energy and purity, making for a lovely bottle and a solid value. That is especially true when you consider that this winery has been awarded Winegrowers of the Year in the prestigious Hachette guide and know that the vines are all hand tended and are certified biodynamic! This Chardonnay has classic wet stone, white flowers, lemony fruit and hazelnut on the graceful medium bodied palate adding apple, pear and golden fig notes and just a touch of clove spice, oyster shell and leesy roundness. The 2020 was an opulent year and while there is a pleasing fruit density, there is plenty of acidity to cut into any perceived flabby lushness, making for an excellent and well craft wine that will go great with a wide range of foods, from soft triple cream cheeses to decedent lobster dishes.
The Domaine Capitain-Gagnerot goes back to 1802 and is on the ninth generation owner and winemakers, with Pierre-François Capitain making the fine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines here, in an old cellar, that was occupied by the Germans in WWII, just 6 km north of the city of Beaune along the eastern flank of the famed Corton hill. Capitain, who’s family were originally wine merchants dating back to 1620 here in Burgundy, has 16 hectares of estate owned vines, all organic and now, as noted above, fully certified biodynamic, set on clay and marl limestone soils with a set of special Lieu-Dits, like this one, plus some Premier Cru and Grand Cru parcels in the collection. The wines are all about transparency and made to show a sense of place with 100% hand harvesting, careful selections in the vineyards and minimal intervention winemaking in the cellar, with all wines seeing gentle macerations and native yeast fermentation with cool temperatures employed to highlight aromatics. The Chardonnays are whole cluster pressed and settled, after which they go through barrel fermentation and aging, again with care taken to maintain a cool temperature throughout the process and with only about 10% new oak on this bottling. There’s a lot to like here, I recommend this one if you can find it.
($42 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive